How to design for SaaS Applications

Melanie Graham
3 min readApr 2, 2023

What is SaaS and how how to define reusable and changeable components?

What is SaaS?

SaaS stands for Software as a Service and includes Customer relationship management (CRM) software, project management tools, email marketing platforms, and human resources management systems (HRMS)

  1. Easily accessed through a web browser over the internet
  2. Multiple users access the same SaaS application software, rather than having to custom develop something specific to each individual
  3. Users pay a subscription fee to access the software
  4. The SaaS app provider is responsible for maintaining and updating the software

Some popular examples below:

As a Product and User Experience UX Designer how do I design for Saas?

SaaS applications reuse components across all users and can also allow users to customize other parts such as theme, colors, and styles. For example, Gmail provides the same functionality and abilities across all users such as settings and navigation. However they also provides the ability to customizes themes and styles to each individual user.

The best way of doing this is to establish a design system that includes…

  1. Create a library of reusable components such as functionality and styles.
  2. Use modular design — this includes breaking down your design into smaller, self-contained components that can be used in multiple contexts.
  3. Design with flexibility in mind — When designing components, consider the different ways they may be used in different contexts. Make sure components are flexible enough to adapt to different layouts, styles, and functionality.
  4. Use variables for consistency: Use variables to maintain consistency in your design. For example, use variables for font sizes, colors, and spacing to ensure consistent use across your SaaS application.
  5. Test and iterate: Test your components with real users and iterate based on feedback. This will help you identify areas for improvement and make your components more flexible and reusable.
  6. Document your design system: Make sure to document your design system and components so that other team members can easily understand and use them. This will ensure consistency and scalability across your SaaS application.
  7. Plan for change: Plan for changes to your SaaS application by designing components that are easy to modify and update. This will help you adapt to changes in user needs and technology trends without having to redesign everything from scratch.

In Conclusion

When designing complex systems such as SaaS applications remember to design for reusability, modularity, flexibility, and consistency.

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